Apple Loses Patent Lawsuit… Over Playlists

from the yeah,-that's-innovation dept

East Texas is famous for its patent lawsuits, and even though the Federal Circuit had suggested in the past that district courts be more willing to transfer patent cases out of East Texas, companies keep coming up with tricks to stay in East Texas. Take, for example, the company Personal Audio. Despite not actually being based in East Texas, the company set up “offices” in East Texas two months before suing Apple and others over two patents (6,199,076 and 7,509,178) concerning music players, where playlists can be pushed to the players.

Those new offices had no employees and just so happened to be “based” in the same offices as their patent attorneys (shocking coincidence, I’m sure). But, because of that, the case was allowed to stay in East Texas.

And… of course, there’s a reason why they wanted it in East Texas. Because Personal Audio has been awarded $8 million from Apple for those patents. It’s not a huge ruling, of course (which might also suggest a reason for Apple to just pay up, rather than appeal), but it’s yet another example of the problems of the patent system today.

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Companies: apple, personal audio

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Comments on “Apple Loses Patent Lawsuit… Over Playlists”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Playlist = File

A playlist is a file. How does it get to be non-obvious that a file can be transferred from one device to another? Fifty years ago, we used to make files in the form of decks of cards (using a card punch) and transfer them to the computer, where they would be read. Transferring files from one device to another has piles of prior art from a very long time ago. Yet, some crook has been paid 8 million for telling a whole bunch of lies.

What next? Is someone going to patent the power switch? The patent system has gone completely mad.

out_of_the_blue says:

No support for your non-sequitor assertion:

“yet another example of the problems of the patent system today”. — You just rule out that Apple /could have/ infringed because /patents are evil/.

To jump to end of the obvious chain of reasoning: your notions — EVEN IF CORRECT — just plain don’t take human nature into account, and so you come up short. People will always try to get easy money.

Yes, lawyers game the system by shopping for venues. They’re /lawyers/, Mike, trained blood suckers.

Yes, patents are mostly idiotic. — I’ve given my solution: require working physical models, automatically rules out software.

But mainly, there’s no “good” side to take: Apple is just another corporation that’s as criminal as they dare to be. Apple “stole” a BSD Unix for their OS, or they wouldn’t have one at all able to compete. It’s possible to STEAL from the public domain, because Apple is NOT the public, has NO right to use public property: it’s a corporation that exists only by permission.

The solution is to limit BOTH lawyers and corporations, before they ruin the system for we the people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No support for your non-sequitor assertion:

“Apple “stole” a BSD Unix for their OS”

[Citation needed]

Mac Os X is based around the Mach kernel, as are many other Os’s (see

I agree with your sentiment (corporations are scum) but get your facts straight, or you’ll just end up looking like a nut.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No support for your non-sequitor assertion:

Actually, Apple didn’t “steal” BSD, because it’s impossible to do so. Nor is BSD in the public domain — please see, which reads in part: “The BSD License allows proprietary use, and for the software released under the license to be incorporated into proprietary products. Works based on the material may be released under a proprietary license or as closed source software. This is the reason for widespread use of the BSD code in proprietary products, ranging from Juniper Networks routers to Mac OS X.”

Those of us who have contributed to BSD have done so with this license in mind — that is, we are fully aware that anyone who wishes to may use BSD, within the terms of the license, and thus may use our work as part of that.

This is not to say that I’m entirely pleased with Apple: I’m not. But that is a separate matter from whether or not they are in compliance with the BSD license, and to the best of my knowledge, they ARE in compliance.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: No support for your non-sequitor assertion:

As an ‘example of the problems with the patent system today’, this post and its conclusion is not a non-sequitor. If you enumerated the problems that have been discussed on this site, you’d see ‘venue shopping’ as one of them. Thus, this is an example of one of the problems.

You pointing out that Apple could have infringed is a non-sequitor in and of itself. The point of the article was that from the first paper being filed to the gavel banging on the judge’s bench, this has been a sham. This company went out of their way to keep this suit in Texas even though there is nothing about the whole thing that has anything to do with Texas. At all. Nadda. Zero.

And the info you put up about Apple stealing stuff for OS? Really not sure how that fits into this at all. So? yeah. Non-Sequitor Pot, meet Non-Sequitor Kettle.

patent litigation (user link) says:

no surprise

When patent trolls regularly collect triple the amount of damages awarded to practicing entities in patent litigation, it is certainly no surprise that more NPEs (non-practicing entities, or “patent trolls”) are springing up and becoming ever more aggressive. They have everything to gain and relatively little to lose by filing patent enforcement actions. I fear that the only way to minimize the threat that PAEs pose to small businesses is by eliminating their incentives to assert patents — i.e., by limiting the damages that they can collect. In the meantime, you can’t really blame a company like Personal Audio for taking advantage of weaknesses in the legal system.

Souvik (profile) says:

Steve's Biography

Even though I doubt that the biography will ever get entered as evidence it may still be used by a creative lawyer to influence a jury. “Apple thought that google was “stealing” from them and was ready to spend 40 billion to get back at Google. How much do you think that they should pay for stealing from my client.” I am not a lawyer, so maybe this will never happen.

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